Discussion in 'Canadian' started by sapperschild, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. sapperschild

    sapperschild Junior Member

    Hi all. My Dad was a Sapper with the Royal Canadian Engineers, and served in Italy from November of 1943 until the 1st Canadian Division of the Canadian Army returned to NW Europe in March of 1945. We have obtained some of the war diaries for his unit, with more to come. Have read a number of books, including some of Terry Copps' books. My Dad died at 45 years of age in 1962, never having talked much about the war. From what we have learned so far, the 4th Field Company was tied to the 3rd Infantry Brigade. Dad's service records indicate that he joined the 4th Field Company in Ortona, around December 20-22, 1943, toward the end of fighting there. From everything we have read so far, the Engineers would have been heavily involved in bridge building and demolition, lifting and laying of mines, roadway and rail maintenance, etc. I have found a few documents in the war diaries that contain my Dad's name, all pertaining to training that he took. While I realize that I will never know my Dad's exact movements during his time of service, other than what his service records indicate, and that I must rely on the activities of the 4th Field Company and by association, the activities of the 3rd Infantry Brigade to track his movements, I would really appreciate any insight that the members on this forum could provide into the day-to-day life of the Sappers of his or any Engineering Company, especially those contributing Veterans (D-Day Dodgers) who have such unique and special experience. Thank you in advance for anything you can provide. In closing, I would like to offer my sincere and heartfelt appreciation to all Veterans, past and present. My husband and I have been doing a lot of research over the past three years, into the service history of our respective Dads, and we have learned so much about the hardship and sacrifice endured by these brave men and women. Thank you seems so woefully inadequate. We will never forget.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    QUOTE - " joined the 4th Field company in Ortona ,around 20-22nd december 1943, towards the end of the fighting there " NOT quite so as the 2nd Inf Bde of the Seaforths and loyal Eddies broke off for two hours on Christmas

    day to have dinner in the bombed out Church - then back at it - the fighting dragged on for a few days own Tank Bde and also Gerry Chesters also joined the 1st Inf Div as support in the April while they were still licking their

    wounds at Lucera, prior to both 1st and 5th Cdn Armoured div moving over to the Liri Valley in May '44 - then on to Florence and the Gothic Line where we supported the 2nd Bde mainly.....

    A better book to study for all Canadian units is the Official History of Lt.Col. Nicholson's "Canadians in Italy 1943 - 45 " as the books of Copp and others end to stay with the fighting troops and leave the sappers etc out of the action but I can

    assure that without the Sappers - we could go nowhere - especially on our U Turn from the Florence area where they built a 120 miles Tank road from Fabriano to Iesi - in hours and a couple of days - to start the Gothic Line Battles in the August '44

    They dun gud as they say

  3. sapperschild

    sapperschild Junior Member

    Thanks Tom. I have seen that report - actually downloaded it electronically, and did some keyword searches for '4th Field Company' with some success. Plan to obtain a hard copy at our local library as I find it much easier to read in that format. Thanks for the recommendation. I am currently reading 'Hell and High Water, Canadians and the Italian Campaign' by Lance Goddard, and it is proving an excellent read. It contains many first hand accounts of Veterans such as yourself, which is invaluable. Another book I enjoyed very much was Farley Mowat's 'And No Birds Sang'. I have taken a peek at your BBC site, and in reading through some of the discussions, have found some interesting accounts about Sappers - so thank you for that - will check it out further. All I can say is that I am sorry it is no longer an active site. Thank you for your insight about Sappers. It is such an honour to hear the perspective of someone who was actually there. At the risk of sounding too effusive, all I can say is thank you so much for your personal sacrifice as well as that of so many others. The journey that my husband and I began two years ago, into researching our respective Dads' military history, has been an incredible experience, and has left us forever changed. We can never sufficiently express our gratitude to all the men and women who gave so much for the freedom and security of all. It can ever be said too many times. Thank you.

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